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Sunday September 25th, 2022 3:59AM

Live updates | Biden says Second Amendment 'not absolute'

By The Associated Press
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UVALDE, Texas (AP) — WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that “the Second Amendment is not absolute” as he called for new limitations on guns in the wake of this week’s massacre at a Texas elementary school.

When the amendment was approved, he said, “You couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. There’s always been limitations.”

Biden was speaking at the White House before signing an executive order on policing on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death.

He that he would visit Texas with first lady Jill Biden in the coming days to “hopefully bring some little comfort to the community.”

“As a nation, I think we must all be there for them,” he said. “And we must ask, when it god’s name will we do what’s needed to be done.”

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE TEXAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING:

— Governor: Texas gunman said he was going to shoot up school

— Beto O’Rourke disrupts news conference on shooting

— ‘Precious individuals’ taken in Texas school shooting

— A look at some of the deadliest US school shootings

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IN OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

WASHINGTON — The State Department says the school shooting in Texas and other mass casualty incidents are hurting America’s standing abroad and giving comfort to U.S. rivals and adversaries.

Spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday incidents like these not only cause damage to the U.S. global reputation but also upset and confuse friends and allies who don’t understand how they can continue to happen.

“The fact is that what happens in this country is magnified on the world stage,” Price told reporters a day after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults in the Texas school shooting. “And countries around the world, people around the world, are going to fixate on what transpires here — oftentimes out of envy, but again that’s when we’re at our best.”

Price said the shootings “will have implications for our standing” and the U.S. diplomats posted around the world are “very mindful of that.”

He said that despite the State Department’s foreign policy focus, the shootings hit American diplomats as “a real punch to the gut.”

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A Facebook spokesman says messages posted by the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school were private.

Andy Stone says the messages “were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy.” He says Facebook is cooperating with investigators.

Gov. Greg Abbott described the messages at a news conference where he said the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, used an AR-15 in the attack Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

About 30 minutes before the shooting, Ramos sent three social media messages. According to the governor, Ramos posted that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman, and finally that he was going to shoot an elementary school.

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UVALDE, Texas — Beto O’Rourke interrupted a press conference Wednesday about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, calling the shooting “totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.”

O’Rourke was escorted out while members of the crowd yelled at him, with one man shouting profanities at O’Rourke. The Democrat is challenging against Gov. Greg Abbott in this year’s election.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said to O’Rourke: “You’re out of line and an embarrassment.”

O’Rourke, as he was being escorted out, turned around, faced the stage, pointed his finger and said: “This is on you until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will continue to be killed just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday.”

Abbott says the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school warned on social media minutes before the attack that he was going to shoot up a school. He says the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, used an AR-15 in the attack Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

The news conference was attended by several elected Republican officials.

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UVALDE, Texas — The governor of Texas says the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school warned on social media minutes before the attack that he was going to shoot up a school.

Gov. Greg Abbott says the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, used an AR-15 in the attack Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

About 30 minutes before the shooting, Ramos made three social media posts. According to the governor, Ramos posted that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman, and finally that he was going to shoot an elementary school.

Seventeen people were also injured in the attack.

Abbott says Ramos had no known criminal or mental health history.

“Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday,” the Republican governor said at a news conference attended by other Republican political officials.

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Former President Donald Trump says he’ll “deliver an important address to America” at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Texas on Friday.

The Republican leader posted on his social media network Wednesday that “America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship.”

Houston’s Democratic mayor, Sylvester Turner, says some people want the city to cancel the NRA meeting, but he says they can’t break the contract.

The greater question, he says, is why politicians still plan to speak there after the shooting in Uvalde. Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz are among other Republicans scheduled to address a leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.

“It’s about elected officials at the highest level in our state going and speaking and endorsing those policies and that’s wrong," Turner said. "And you can’t pray and send condolences on one day and then be going and championing guns on the next.”

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BERLIN — German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser sharply condemned the Texas school massacre, saying she’s shocked by the “terrible bloodshed.”

“It is horrific that so many children and a teacher were killed. And it is terrible how powerful the gun lobby still is in the USA — despite so many terrible crimes,” Faeser tweeted on Wednesday.

Germany has a strict weapons law, and its authorities must enforce it decisively, she said.

“Above all, we must disarm extremists very consistently. Where necessary, we will further tighten gun laws,” Faeser said.

However, Germany is not immune from school attacks. Last week, a school employee was seriously wounded in a crossbow attack at a high school in Bremerhaven and a suspect was detained. Earlier this month, a 16-year-old was detained for allegedly plotting an attack on a secondary school in Essen after police seized weapons and bomb-making materials from his apartment, authorities said.

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HARTFORD, Conn. — Schools around the country increased security as a precaution after the killings of 19 children and two teachers in Texas.

In Connecticut, where the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting killed 20 first graders and six educators, state police said they were sending extra troopers to schools Wednesday, although no specific threats had been received.

“This assault on the most innocent of our citizens is deeply disturbing and heartbreaking,” Connecticut state police Col. Stavros Mellekas said in a statement. “At this time, our focus will be on protecting all school populations here in our state.”

Schools in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Virginia, Maryland and Florida also were among those increasing security and offering counseling.

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WASHINGTON -- Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor Wednesday in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting to call out the Republicans’ decadeslong opposition to gun control legislation.

“Maybe the thought of putting yourself in the shoes of these parents instead of in the arms of the NRA might let you wriggle free from the vise-like grip of the NRA to act on even a simple measure,” the New York Democrat said. “For the sake of these children, these 9-year-olds, these 10-year-olds, these 11-year-olds, these beautiful children, please, damn it.”

The Democrats’ pleas to Republican colleagues reflect a long history of congressional inaction on gun control since a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago. Democratic lawmakers have introduced countless proposals that would have required a background check of the gunman in Texas. All failed to pass, mostly due to the filibuster.

Schumer pledged Wednesday to move forward with or without Republican lawmakers.

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Instagram has confirmed it's working with law enforcement to review an account that appears to belong to the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers in Texas.

A series of posts appeared on Instagram and TikTok in the days leading up to Tuesday’s shooting. One selfie appears to show the shooter in front of a mirror. Another photo shows a gun magazine in hand. And on Friday, the same day law enforcement officials believe Salvador Ramos bought a second rifle, a picture of two AR-style semi-automatic rifles appeared.

Another Instagram user with many more followers was tagged in that post. That user has since removed her profile, but first she shared parts of what appears to be a chilling exchange with Ramos, asking her to share his gun pictures with her more than 10,000 followers.

“I barely know you and u tag me in a picture with some guns,” she responded, adding, “It’s just scary.”

A response sent from Ramos’s account on Tuesday morning just said: “I’m about to.”

Witnesses said the shooting began around 11:30 a.m.

___

UVALDE, Texas — The man who killed 19 children and two teachers in Texas bought his guns legally days before the attack and soon after his 18th birthday, a law enforcement briefing said.

He bought one AR-style rifle from a federally-licensed gun dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to a state police briefing given to Sen. John Whitmire. The next day, he bought 375 rounds of ammunition, and bought a second rifle on May 20.

Officers recovered one of the rifles from Ramos’ truck and the other was found in the school, according to the briefing. It says Ramos dropped a backpack with several magazines full of ammunition near the school entrance, and that he was wearing a body-armor style vest but that it had no hardened plates inside.

___

Actor Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday. He called on Americans to act now to control an “epidemic” of mass shootings.

“Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us,” McConaughey posted on his Instagram account. “We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.”

The actor doesn’t describe any specific laws or policies he wants adopted. He doesn’t mention gun control.

“As Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers, it’s time we re-evaluate,” he wrote. “We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground.”

“This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better.”

___

UVALDE, Texas — Uvalde community members arrived early Wednesday at a civic center where families learned the fate of their loved ones the night before. Volunteers arrived with Bibles and therapy dogs.

A minister says he prayed with families of victims in a hospital waiting room after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers inside an elementary school classroom in Texas.

Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.

Pastor Doug Swimmer of the nondenominational Potters House Church told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that Uvalde is a tight-knit community where people know their neighbors and see them every day.

Asked what he said to people whose faith may have been shaken by the mass shooting, Swimmer said “I know that one thing that we as Texans understand is that God is still God ... he is able to bring comfort in times of distress.”

___

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has said he was “heartbroken about the massacre” at an elementary school in Texas.

Francis spoke Wednesday during his general audience. He said he was praying for the children and adults killed and their families after a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 children and two adults before an officer shot and killed the gunman.

___

UKRAINE — Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that he was “deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas.”

Zelenskyy, in a tweet, sent his condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the U.S. and President Joe Biden after a gunman opened fire Tuesday at an elementary school in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 children and two adults before an officer shot and killed the gunman.

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